Conservation Projects

Conservation Projects

Hunters and Protectors of Wildlife and Habitat

Dama Gazelle Collaring Project
Dama Gazelle Collaring Project


Dama Gazelle Collaring Project

It has been over a year now since the Dama Gazelle were initially collard here at Morani River Ranch, and as they are supposed to, the collars are beginning to fall off. Dr. Elizabeth Mungall and Dr. Susan Cooper, along with their team have been riding around the Morani collecting the collars that have fallen off, and thus collecting all the wonderful and important information that they contain. It will take the team some time to decipher all of the information in a presentable form, but when we receive that information we will definitely update here. In the meantime above is a picture of some of their preliminary findings. Thank you to the Second Ark Foundation for making this project possible.

Conservation Bongo Green Hunt

Congratulations to

Chip Wagner for winning the first ever Catch & Release Conservation Bongo Hunt through our
online auction with a bid of $23,000. The hunt was conducted by Bisbee’s Fish & Wildlife
Conservation Fund (Bisbee Fund). It took place outside of Uvalde,
Texas at the renowned Morani River
Ranch this past Monday thru Wednesday with the successful
encounter happening on Tuesday, Feb. 17. Typically hunters must travel to
Central Africa to find the elusive bongo which is among the largest of the
African antelope species, and even when they do, they are not always
successful. Chip only had to travel to South Texas for this rare experience. The Morani River Ranch is famous for
having one of the world’s most extensive collections of exotic game that exists
in private hands. On the Morani River Ranch, rare and exotic animals, although
on private land, roam amongst thousands of acres where they can propagate in
natural surroundings and in almost all cases far more successfully than they do
in their native lands.

Sometimes,
in order to ensure the continued proliferation of these species, veterinarians
must examine and treat them, which is where a catch and release hunt
opportunity arises. This type of hunt encompasses everything that a true
hunting experience does with the exception being that the target animal is
tranquilized with a dart gun vs. being harvested. Congratulations to Chip Wagner for winning the first ever Catch & Release Conservation Bongo Hunt through
our online auction with a bid of $23,000. The hunt was conducted by Bisbee’s Fish & Wildlife
Conservation Fund (Bisbee Fund). It took place outside of Uvalde,
Texas at the renowned Morani River
Ranch this past Monday thru Wednesday with the successful
encounter happening on Tuesday, Feb. 17. Typically hunters must travel to
Central Africa to find the elusive bongo which is among the largest of the
African antelope species, and even when they do, they are not always
successful. Chip only had to travel to South Texas for this rare experience

The
Morani River Ranch is famous for having one of the world’s most extensive
collections of exotic game that exists in private hands. On the Morani River
Ranch, rare and exotic animals, although on private land, roam amongst
thousands of acres where they can propagate in natural surroundings and in
almost all cases far more successfully than they do in their native lands.

Sometimes,
in order to ensure the continued proliferation of these species, veterinarians
must examine and treat them, which is where a catch and release hunt
opportunity arises. This type of hunt encompasses everything that a true
hunting experience does with the exception being that the target animal is
tranquilized with a dart gun vs. being harvested. The beauty of this event is
that the hunter, Chip was a “hands on” conservationist, while enjoying all the
thrills of a hunt, and also received the maximum tax write off for his donation
to the Bisbee Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

The
stalk began early on a cold overcast morning with pre-scouting hikes over
rugged, hilly terrain to determine where the bongo might be. Later that day,
after multiple attempts to get into a darting position, Chip was able to make
an excellent shot. While the bongo was briefly sedated, antibiotics were given,
blood samples taken, and other scientific data was gathered to ensure the
continued health of the animal. It was admired by all present, and some great
photographs of the animal and conservationist/hunter were taken. The attending
wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Patrick O’Neil D.V.M. of the Pedernales Veterinary
Center, then successfully released it back into its habitat with a clean bill
of health and fresh vaccines. The already high excitement level went through
the roof as the animal walked away and returned to its environment.

Brian
White and Wayne Bisbee commented that the very needed funds raised for this
hunt will go directly to the breeding, advancement, and care of rare wild
animals on current source population locations and the eventual re-population
to logical and responsible locations that include original habitats where the
animals have in some cases gone extinct in the wild.

“Chip
said, “yes, I’m an avid hunter, but I’m very excited about this opportunity
because it is a way to not only impact conservation through hunting but to
impact conservation through catch and release hunting which is specifically
designed to raise money for the species that need it the most. I got to be a
hunter, conservationist and philanthropist, all at the same time, and I had a
damn good time doing it.”

While
attending TCU, Chip Wagner considered Fort Worth a great place to live and made
it his home. His passion for hunting and fishing has taken him all over the
world and he even holds a world record. He is also an impressive name in
offshore tournament fishing, having won millions of dollars in purses at the
most prestigious events that exist. Chip’s current efforts are in his world
class Quail Ridge Ranch in west Texas that has an extensive collection of
exotic game as well as trophy North American game. Chip also has restaurant
franchise interests with the popular Fuzzy Tacos chain among other various
business ventures.

The
television series, “The High Road
with Keith Warren was on-site to cover the bongo conservation hunt. The
resulting show will be broadcast nationally within their weekly program slot on
the Pursuit Channel during their 2016 broadcast season. “I can’t begin to tell
you how thrilled I am to be able to help get the word out on such an epic
conservation event. The interest and exposure that this “catch and release
hunt” will receive on our program will be substantial. The potential good that
is going to come from this hunt is unlimited and I recognize the long term
positive impact that it can have on nearly extinct species by duplicating this
type of event more frequently”, said Warren.

The
Bisbee Fund is currently involved with multiple campaigns, including Project: Save
the Rhino in South Africa, traditional tagging and satellite tagging
projects with The Billfish
Foundation and the International
Game Fish Association, and a re-establishing
endangered species to their native lands in Africa and beyond project with the
Second Ark Foundation, the Exotic Wildlife Association and others.
The Fund has also partnered with Ducks Unlimited de Mexico (DUMAC) on a bold wetlands
research and rehabilitation project for Mexico’s west coast and
has established a scholarship
program for exotic wildlife management and research candidates.

Thanks
to the Bisbee Fund’s unique “Donor
Founders Circle” who commits each year to cover all of the Bisbee
Fund’s administration expenses, a full 100% of the auction proceeds will go
toward the proliferation of threatened, endangered, and actually
“extinct-in-the-wild” animals.

To
learn more about what the Bisbee’s Fund is doing, and to see how you can get
involved in their exciting projects, please visit www.BisbeesConservationFund.org.


60 Minutes Interview on Endangered Species

This video contains valuable information highlighting how the simple concept of “Conservation Through Commerce” is such a powerful resource in our continued effort to preserve and propagate various species in order to establish sustainable populations that can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Watch Video Here

Fox News: Can Hunting Endangered Animals Save Them?

Another excellent video containing a Fox News interview with Charly Seale, Executive Director of the Exotic Wildlife Association, explaining the physical evidence supporting the conservation through commerce concept, he explains how our efforts as exotic ranches has increased, dramatically, the number of individuals of endangered species.

Watch Video Here

Can You Protect Rare Species By Hunting It?

This article was written by Maria Recio for McClatchy Newspapers. It focuses on Morani River Ranch and our success in raising and proliferating endangered species in a strict breeding program that allows for the selective hunting of older males in order to receive the finances to maintain the rest of our valuable herds of endangered species.

Read Article Here


BISBEE’S CONSERVATION FUND MAKES $125,000 DONATION TO THE SECOND ARK FOUNDATION TO HELP CONSERVE ENDANGERED AFRICAN WILDLIFE

The Bisbee’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund has donated $125,000 in support of the Second Ark Foundation’s ambitious efforts to re-introduce Scimitar-horned oryx to their native habitat in the African Sahara region. The donation will augment the on-going efforts of the foundation, as well as the non-profit Exotic Wildlife Association, a membership group that represents ranchers and conservation preserves that raise exotic hoof stock in the United States. The organizations are actively working to conserve and re-establish oryx in the wild.

“For years Texas ranchers have been conserving African hoof stock to ensure their long-term survival,” says Kevin Reid, owner of the Morani River Ranch and a trustee of the Second Ark Foundation. “Many species have now gone extinct or are critically-endangered in their native habitat, so our goal is to export breeding stock back to Africa to augment and enhance local populations.”

The Second Ark Foundation and EWA have already helped establish infrastructure and breeding practices of Scimitar-horned oryx in Senegal. The Bisbee’s donation will help fund the shipment of a U.S.-raised herd of oryx into the existing compound for greater genetic diversity and DNA testing. Another project EWA is undertaking in Texas is mapping the natural range of Dama gazelles through the use of radio transmitter collars so captive and wild stock will have enough room for successful breeding. A third project involves studying Addax antelope DNA to build the data base for future African re-introduction.

“Since EWA members have been good stewards of these animals for 40 years we have the know-how and ability to re-establish them, where others have limited impact,” Reid explains. “We will be donating our own animals, paying for transportation, the fencing, feed and animal husbandry of the brood stock. But it will be challenging to coordinate the logistics to ship animals of this size by
aircraft. It’s also critical that we work with local human populations to find a long-term solution where these animals can thrive in the demanding Sahara environment once they are re-introduced.”

“I hope this donation is the first of a long partnership between the Second Ark Foundation, EWA and the Bisbee’s Conservation Fund on many projects together. We need help telling our conservation story to national and international audiences,” he adds.

“We’re looking for solutions for saving these animals in the wild and re-introduction is part of that solution,” says Larry Johnson, chairman of the EWA Conservation Committee and a director of the Sahara Conservation Fund. “Some of these animals are already extinct in the wild and others number less than 300. It may not happen in my lifetime, but I want to give the next generation the
opportunity to see these animals exist forever. Nothing is easy but this effort is definitely worth the challenge. Without our help, these animals will certainly go extinct.”

Once all the permits have been acquired and everything is in place, the animals will be exported to Senegal. The transplanted stock will then be allowed to acclimate in protected areas and breed. At that point they would be managed by age in preparation for multiple releases back into the wild.

“This marks an important first step to build a coalition of like-minded groups,” says Brian White, the director of development for the Bisbee’s Conservation Fund. “We want to bring everybody together and work collectively to best accomplish our conservation mission. “God could have accomplished the proliferation of animals on His own and skipped the human involvement and a crude boat. Instead, He encouraged people to work together and this is one of those tasks that is close to His heart,” White added.

To learn about the Bisbee’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund or to donate to specific projects, please visit bisbeesconservationfund.org

To learn more about the Exotic Wildlife Association’s work and the mission of the Second Ark Foundation, please visit www.myewa.org and www.secondarkfoundation.com

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